The recently-launched PlayStation 3 and Wii game consoles remain popular on Internet auction sites, but the price they are fetching is falling as launch-related hype dies down.

Interest in the consoles peaked in the days approaching and immediately following the November 17 launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 and the November 19 launch of Nintendo's Wii. Prior to their launch, sites like Ebay supported a brisk trade in reservations for the consoles. Immediately following the release, a large number of people rushed to put their newly acquired machines up for sale in the hope of doubling or tripling their money.

The number of people trying to make a buck -- or a yen -- on the PlayStation 3 was so high that it was reflected in sales of software for the console. In Japan, more consoles were sold than software titles, according to market estimates from Enterbrain, while in the US leading retailer GameStop said an average of 1.5 games was sold with each PlayStation 3, versus three games with each Wii.

Ebay saw sales of 14,675 PlayStation 3 consoles between the Nov 17 launch and last Friday at an average price of $1,186 (around £620), according to Ebay Marketplace Research. Between Oct 17 and last Friday a total of 28,233 PlayStation 3 consoles have been sold on Ebay at an average of $1,370 (£715).

The PlayStation 3 is available in two versions, one costing around $499 (£260) and the other costing around $599 (£315).

Wii, Wii, Wii, Wii, all the way home

Wii sales trends on Ebay have reflected the greater availability of the console at launch. Sales between Oct 17 and last Friday totalled 29,451 consoles but the great majority of those, some 26,708 consoles, were sold after the launch. The average price over the entire period was $428 (£223) but this dropped to $413 (£215) in the post-launch period, said Ebay Marketplace Research.

The Wii's suggested retail in the US is about $250 (£130).

On Monday, PlayStation 3 consoles in their last five minutes of auction were listed on Ebay at prices between $650 (£340) and $910 (£475). Some ambitious sellers had listed consoles at prices around $1,500 (£780) but they had fetched no bids. Prices of Wiis in the last five minutes of their auction period varied between $320 (£165) and $510 (£265).

On Japan's Yahoo Auctions site there were fewer PlayStation 3 consoles available than a week earlier. Only three items had bidding due to close within an hour and they were all listed at around ¥75,000 (£335).